Couch Potato Pickings | Dreamgirls, and reality TV show contestants who’ve actually made it

Beyonce Knowles, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Hudson

This movie version of the popular stage musical, very loosely based on the story of Diana Ross and The Supremes, stars music industry darling Beyoncé. However, the real star of this film is Jennifer Hudson. She totally outshines her co-stars  Anika Noni Rose, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy, and even Ms Knowles fades into the shadows when Hudson’s around.

Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson

After competing in American Idol in 2004, Hudson made her film debut in Dreamgirls in 2006, a role which won her an Oscar. More recently she’s starred in Sex and the City and The Secret Life of Bees and of course she sung at the Michael Jackson memorial concert. She’s well and truly made it, and with talent like hers, she deserves to.

Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson

So with the X Factor final this weekend, I’ve been wondering what other reality TV singing stars have made it big over the past decade:


The original reality TV talent show Popstars gave us Hear’say, resulting in Corrie star Kym Marsh and face of the M&S advertising campaigns Myleene Klass. Klass also starred in the movie Igor as the voice of Dr Holzwurm.

Liberty X

I liked these Popstars finalists, but after disbanding they’ve all just floated around the Reality TV world doing nothing outstanding. Shame.

Will Young

Since winning Pop Idol in 2002, Will had some big hits (including that one with the Top Gun inspired video) and his  career took off. He’s bagged numerous awards and become a highly successful recording artist. He also starred in the movie Mrs Henderson Presents.

Mrs Henderson Presents, Will Young

Gareth Gates

Pop Idol runner up Gates may have done a successful West End run in Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat and it’s great that he’s poised to star in Les Mis, but for me he’ll always be the one who sang that annoying song from Ghost – Unchained Melody.

Girls Aloud

St Trinian’s, Girls Aloud


Only joking. Cheryl Cole is of course the nation’s sweetheart, so how could anybody not know of Girls Aloud. The band starred in the 2007 St Trinian’s film and Sarah Harding has starred in a few additional movies, including St Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold, out at cinemas on 18th December.

Kellie Clarkson

This first American Idol winner is known over here but has a bigger following in the States. Her song The Trouble With Love Is features on the soundtrack to that great festive film Love Actually.

Fantasia Barrino

Hmm, yeah, rings no bells with me either, but she won American Idol Season Three (that’s the same American Idol that introduced Jennifer Hudson  to the world). A film has been made about her life, in which she stars, called Life is not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story.

Carrie Underwood

Winner of American Idol in 2005. Underwood is now a massive country music star over in the US, but virtually unknown over here in the UK.

Kellie Pickler

Pickler was a contestant on American Idol in 2006,  but didn’t win. Nevertheless, she’s making a name for herself over in the country music world.  Taylor Swift fans probably know who she is (they’re best mates), but she’s not really known on this side of the Atlantic. I’m keeping my eye on her though as I reckon she’d be perfect for playing the lead role in the Dolly Parton life story stage musical (yes, it’s on the cards). Apparently though, Dolly has someone else in mind for the stage show, and for the film version she’ll be dubbing the singing vocals herself, so the movie could end up starring any actress who’s suitably well-endowed, regardless of their singing talent.

Leona Lewis

Pop Idol 2007 winner Lewis was quickly welcomed from across the pond and has truly made it as an international star. She performs the song I see You in the James Cameron movie Avatar, out in cinemas on 17th December.

Jordin Sparks

Winner of American Idol 2007, Sparks has made it in the US and is probably best known here in the UK for her singles Battlefield and Tattoo.

Alexandra Burke

Has this Pop Idol 2008 winner made it yet? I’m not sure.


They lost out to Burke in 2008, but their recent UK chart successes show that they’re making up for it now.

So, when you look at how many X Factor, American Idol, Popstar winners have faded out of the public eye over the past decade, it makes you realise that it’s not that many that make it big. It’s a tough world out there.

I’m personally hoping that Geordie Joe McElderry wins X Factor this weekend. He’s got a lovely voice, a lovely face (anyone else think he has a look of Hilary Swank?), and a lovely demeanor. Whether he wins or not doesn’t really matter though. I think he’s got a great career ahead of him, and that potentially includes the movies. The camera loves him and a musical role similar to Hudson’s in Dreamgirls would be perfect. If not that though, I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s  crooning the theme song for the next big Disney movie.

Dreamgirls, beyonce knowles,jennifer hudson

Dreamgirls is showing tonight, 11th December, on Film 4 at 9pm

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